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Best Plants for Paths and Walkways

Ever felt like your garden paths and walkways were a bit… lifeless? Like they were just functional necessities without any of the charm and personality you lavish on the rest of your outdoor oasis? Well, my fellow gardening enthusiasts, I’m here to tell you that there’s a whole world of fabulous flora just waiting to transform those drab, utilitarian thoroughfares into verdant, whimsical wonderlands.

The Power of Pathside Planting

You know, it’s funny – we spend so much time and effort carefully curating the perfect plants for our flowerbeds, borders, and mixed borders. But then when it comes to the pathways that weave through it all, we often just kind of… neglect them. Maybe we toss down some gravel or pavers and call it a day. But what a missed opportunity! Those paths and walkways are the connective tissue of the garden, the arteries that move us through the space. Shouldn’t they be just as thoughtfully designed and delightfully planted as the destination areas?

Veranda magazine agrees – “Every item on this page was chosen by a Veranda editor… Plants are a natural choice for walkway borders whether the swooping line of a tightly shorn boxwood leading to a dramatic sea view or the soft edge of hostas on the charming path to a poolside patio. After all, like a room without baseboards, a garden without walkway borders is unfinished.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself. Those pathways are the unsung heroes of the garden, and with a bit of strategic planting, they can become just as captivating as the flowerbeds and shrub borders. In fact, I’d argue that thoughtfully chosen path plants can actually elevate the entire garden experience, drawing the eye, creating a sense of flow and rhythm, and even serving practical functions like weed and erosion control.

Factors to Consider

Of course, before you go haphazardly planting willy-nilly, there are a few key factors to consider. First and foremost, you need to think about foot traffic. After all, these plants will be underfoot, so they need to be able to withstand a bit of trampling without turning into a muddy mess. Fine Gardening has a great rundown of plant options that can handle moderate to heavy foot traffic – things like woolly thyme, brass buttons, and creeping speedwell.

But you don’t have to limit yourself to just the tough-as-nails ground covers. Even more delicate plants can work wonderfully in lightly trafficked areas or alongside stepping stones. Fine Gardening suggests options like blue star creeper, beach strawberry, and kewensis wintercreeper for those less traveled pathways.

Another key consideration is sun exposure. Some plants will thrive in the full sun that’s typical of many garden paths, while others prefer a bit more shade. Pay attention to the light levels in your specific garden and choose accordingly. And of course, don’t forget about soil drainage – nothing kills a plant faster than perpetually wet feet.

Mixing It Up

Once you’ve got the practical concerns sorted out, the real fun begins! Start thinking about how you can use these path-friendly plants to create visual interest and flow. Maybe you line the edges with a low, sprawling groundcover like creeping thyme or Irish moss, letting it spill over the edges for a delightfully wild, organic look. Or maybe you alternate bold, upright plants like fountain grass or liriope with shorter, mounding ones for a bit of vertical contrast.

And don’t be afraid to get creative with color and texture too! Veranda suggests pairing plants with vibrant flowers – think the hot pinks of dianthus or the cool blues of catmint – to really make your paths pop. Or mix in plants with interesting foliage, like the fuzzy, silvery leaves of lamb’s ears or the dramatic, bronze-hued fronds of coral bells.

The possibilities are truly endless! And the best part is, you can experiment and play. If something doesn’t work out quite right, just dig it up and try something new. That’s the joy of gardening, after all – it’s an ever-evolving canvas, just waiting for you to put your own unique stamp on it.

Bringing It All Together

Now, I know what you might be thinking – “But won’t all those plants just get in the way and make it hard to actually use the paths?” Fair point. That’s why it’s important to strike the right balance, leaving enough clear space for easy foot traffic while still packing in plenty of visual interest.

One clever solution I’ve seen is to plant clover or other low-growing, resilient groundcovers right in the center of the path. That way, you get the charming, lawn-like effect underfoot, but the edges are still free and clear for strolling. Or you could intersperse larger stepping stones with smaller plants in between, creating a whimsical, mosaic-like effect.

And don’t forget to think vertically too! Trailing vines, lacy ferns, and flowering shrubs can all add that extra layer of visual interest without encroaching on the walkable space. It’s all about finding that perfect balance of form and function.

So there you have it, my fellow gardening enthusiasts – the secret to transforming those ho-hum paths and walkways into the stuff of garden dreams. With a little creativity and the right plant picks, you can turn those utilitarian thoroughfares into verdant, enchanting journeys that will delight the senses and draw the eye at every turn.

Ready to get planting? Then head on over to https://todaysgardens.org – your one-stop shop for all the high-quality plants, tools, and inspiration you need to make your garden paths the envy of the neighborhood. Happy planting!

Today’s Garden is Garden and Landscape Company, provides all you need about Garden and Landscape Design to get better garden decorations.

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